The Roundtable has begun.
….And as we look around for some organizing framework, some intellectual bins and buckets, at least, to sort all this material out, we look for a reliable guide, a respected instructor. And we keep seeing the same name come up: Clausewitz.
Many writers refer to him, and many current ones seem determined to rebut or claim to have surpassed Clausewitz. But it is always Clausewitz who is “the guy to beat”. His sole challenger is Sun Tzu, at least in the last generation or so. But despite the current vogue for the Chinese sage, which I cannot vouch for, but will assume to be merited, Sun Tzu has not been so woven into the military mind and thought of the Western world nearly so deeply or for so long, as Clausewitz has. In a century, it may be different, but for now, the foremost military thinker of our civilization is and remains Clausewitz.
This predominance is recognized, if sometimes resented, but is balanced by the claim that everyone talks about him, and many quote from him, but few actually ever read Clausewitz. Hence, the “Clausewitz” who is spoken of by his proponents as well as his detractors may only be a cardboard cutout, a bullet-point power point slide of sound bites, at best a Cliff Notes version of the man and his book.
This blog was founded by people who went to college at the University of Chicago. Part of the ethos at the U of C was to read original documents, in translation if necessary, but to get as close to the historical sources as you could, to take these old books seriously, to accept as a rebuttable presumption that they became classics because they had some enduring insight to convey, to see for yourself what these people said, and what they claimed they were doing, and what they professed to believe. Hence, ChicagoBoyz is a good forum for a group of people who are doing just that with the “classic”, On War. We are letting Clausewitz speak for himself.
Read the rest here.